Normally the flue is species specific, but it's a bit tricky with this one, so to be sure I would just wash my hands every time I needed to do something with the hammies.
Some mink over here just got the swine flue, and now they are talking about if it gets back into humans, then it would be a different strain, and cause a lot of problems.
As far as I'm informed, the problem isen't specificly with young people, but with kids, old people and people with some kind of sickness who could be very sick from a normal flue.
But how many people have died so far?
I come from a very small countrie - only 5.5 million - and every year a 1000 die from the normal flue. Are we even up that high on a world basis with the swine flue?
There's a lot of confusion when you compare H1N1 to other influenzas.
For one thing, the flu is not species specific (at least not the types of flu that commonly affect humans).The H1N1 (as well as the H5N1 avian flue) is part of the Influenza A complex, this is the group that is most communicable to other mammals (for example, pigs and horses) and birds. Given the right circumstances and mode of transmission, there are any number of mammalians species that might come down with the H1N1 influenza.
The other two main types, Influenza B and C are not quite as generic in the animals they'll infect.
Normally, over 90% of deaths and about 60 percent of hospitalization occur in people older than 65.
From the CDC:
"At this time, there are relatively fewer cases and deaths reported in people 65 years and older, which is unusual when compared with seasonal flu. However, pregnancy and other previously recognized high risk medical conditions from seasonal influenza appear to be associated with increased risk of complications from this 2009 H1N1. These underlying conditions include asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders and pregnancy."
The reason that this strain seems to be such a problem with younger folks, is that many of us "older" folks were exposed to it (or similar strains) when we were younger, back in the 50's and the sixties. People that have no previous immunities can be at a greater risk for this strain. As of Oct 10 and since August, there have been 292 laboratory confirmed deaths that are attributable to H1N1 here in the US.
Last year, throughout the entire flu season (2008-2009), the regular Type A flu killed 88 children in the US. This year, according to the CDC, there have been 95 deaths of children. The season typically goes until April or May. So, we still haven't seen the peak of the season!